Andal Jagannathan
13 KAHANIYAN by Edied by Kusumlata Singh. Illustrations by Ashok Kumar Sen Children’s Book Trust, 2023, 128 pp., INR 170.00
November 2023, volume 47, No 11

13 Kahaniyan is an enriching compilation of 13 stories in Hindi, each carrying valuable lessons, meticulously curated and edited by Kusumlata Singh and published by the Children’s Book Trust. Within this literary treasure-trove, the stories paint a vivid picture of diverse societal issues and human experiences.
In Manjari Shukla’s story, ‘Bhola’, readers are confronted with the heart-wrenching reality of children unable to pursue education due to their lack of resources. This narrative underscores the pressing issue of educational inequality.
Asha Sharma’s ‘Adhunik Yug Ka Eklavya’ immerses readers in the world of an Adivasi Bhil village, shedding light on the dearth of educational facilities in marginalized areas, and emphasizing the need for equitable access to education.
Md. Arshad Khan’s ‘Sachchi Raah’ weaves a tale of a young boy whose judicious use of water initially brings him ridicule from his peers but later gets him admiration. This story underscores the significance of responsible resource management.
‘Jab Jaago Tab Hi Savera’ by Rajesh Ahuja addresses the theme of wasteful expenditure, encouraging readers to reflect on their spending habits and the importance of financial prudence.
Shatabdi Garima’s ‘Ambar Aur Rinki’ ventures into a subject often shunned–child sexual abuse, revealing how perpetrators are frequently individuals known to the child and family. This narrative is a poignant call to address and combat this grave issue.
Dinesh Pathak’s ‘Atma Vishwas Ki Jeet’, Neelam Rakesh’s ‘Dard Ke Paar’, and Suryalata Jaiswal’s ‘Yeh Duniya Hamari Hogi’ offer heartwarming motivational stories in which injured children summon their inner strength to overcome adversities. These tales serve as inspiring reminders of resilience and the indomitable human spirit.
Sanjeev Jaiswal’s ‘Main Phir Aaoongi’ introduces a touch of magic and fairies to spotlight the dire consequences of environmental pollution on Earth, emphasizing the pressing need for awareness and conservation.
Amitabh Shankar Roy Chaudhary’s ‘Chayanat’ delves into the struggles faced by farmers, revealing the challenges of agricultural life and highlighting the importance of supporting rural communities.
Sudha Puri’s ‘Khel-lila’ is a different flavour with its tale of fasting and feasting. The story also narrates an incident from Mahatma Gandhi’s life, about how he fasted in jail.
The book culminates with the tale of ‘Bholu’ by Madhulika Agarwal, an enthralling narrative centered around a baby elephant separated from its mother. This story illustrates the resilience of life as humans must force-feed the young elephant to ensure its survival, serving as a symbol of hope in the face of adversity.
13 Kahaaaniyan is a diverse and thought-provoking collection of stories that encapsulate a wide range of human experiences, from the pressing issues of education and child abuse to the power of resilience and the importance of environmental consciousness. Each narrative encourages readers to contemplate the lessons within and inspires them to engage with the world more compassionately and consciously.